There’s an increasingly different restaurant model sprouting up around LA, and that’s the service counter where diners order, take a number, and receive plates directly from the kitchen. It’s a way for restaurants to deliver most of the quality and creativity of a full service eatery but expediting the experience (and minimizing front-of-house staff) to keep prices reasonable. The Gables is the newest such quick service-ish experience, opening August 22 with a thoughtful but approachable menu that should cater to Santa Monica’s wide swath of diners.
That could mean the odd tourist visiting from the Midwest, the transplant New Yorker looking for a grain bowl, or a fitness fanatic looking for cold brew and a salad. Owner Kevin Lazan brings Superba Food + Bread alum Vicki Fan Matsusaka as executive chef and Daniel Boulud vet Juan Ramirez as GM, serving all-day fare from breakfast to dinner, with pastries, coffee, wine, beer, and everything in between. Kenny Lao, who co-founded NYC’s Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, comes on as operating partner as well.
The smart space feels fresh, airy, and bright with faux skylights and plenty of sun coming from the front windows. Mystery Design takes the 2,500 square foot layout and gives it a sort of Venice living room feel meant for a recent Dwell magazine issue. Santa Monica denizens should virtually feel at home.
As for food, the menu does a nice job of balancing comfort with the salutary demands of Westsiders. Think bodega breakfast sandwiches (New Yorkers will love these) or chilaquiles (Eastsiders will love these) in the morning or a build-your-own chicken salad “bento” that’s an Instagram shoe-in. Dinner has a tight array of things like steak frites, seared salmon, and turkey meatballs while an olive oil cake could be the ideal finisher.
The Gables will be open 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays, with a 10 p.m. closure on weekends. Coffee and pastries start at 7:30 a.m. for any early birds.
The Gables. 331 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401. 424-280-4470.